Saturday, June 25, 2011

Alex Jones, Elves, and Beyond

 Professional fear-monger Alex Jones recently went viral with a rant that has been universally derided as balls-out crazy, wherein he discusses his theory that the Power Elite/Illuminati/New World Order overlords are coming into communication with extra-dimensional beings through the inhalation of that most Reality-Shattering of molecules: DMT.
 Here's a condensed version, for some reason haunted by the floating heads of Louis Wain's psychedelic cat paintings.

You're not ready for it!

  To sum up: Alex "Bullhorn" Jones tells us that the 'Elite' are in contact with extra-terrestrials who are giving them access to advanced technology. Through the use of psychedelics, they open lines of communication with Another Realm and use the information which comes through from the Other Side to gain knowledge and power, and building devices such as the Large Hadron Collider at the behest of these Otherworldy Contacts.

 Those familiar with my work with the Out There Radio and Disinformation Podcasts will know that I have no great love for Alex Jones. I once referred to his atrocious film End Game: Blueprint for Global Enslavement as a 'qlippothic sludgefest through the darkest possible interpretation of reality'. I should be very clear, however, that I do not rule out all, or even most of Alex Jones' World View. In fact, we share a common methodology, drawing connections between seemingly unrelated events to paint a sweeping Big Picture. The only major difference between us is in the interpretation of these facts, which causes our Pictures to diverge so wildly. Alex Jones paints with the sharp strokes of fear in a dark palette of paranoia. I choose instead to use the brighter colors of humor on an under-painting of Neurological Agnosticism.

 Just days ago I picked up Cosmic Trigger I : Final Secret of the Illuminati for the first time in years and re-read the process by which my hero-and-mentor-ex-libris Robet Anton Wilson broke open his own mind through the use of hallucinogens. He describes visions of the Green Spirit Mesaclito, telepathic communication with Tim Leary, and the apparent reception of extra-terrestrial signals from the Dog Star Sirius. Within 48 hours I found myself unexpectedly listening to Alex Jones hysterically grumble about the very same subjects, but as if reflected in a dark fun-house mirror. I had no choice but to chuckle at the apparent influence of John C. Lilly's hypothetical Cosmic Coincidence Control Center in bringing these events into Synchronous Space-Time for me. As anyone who has read The Illuminatus! Trilogy knows, these sort of 'coincidences' are tremendously typical of those who dip their toes in the waters of The Conspiracy.

 What really blows my mind about Alex's video is the degree to which people watching it have used is to demonstrate how incredibly crazy he is. However, contrary to popular opinion, the general idea that he discusses of DMT users believing that they come into contact with Otherworldy Beings is no fabrication of Jones' twisted worldview. Consult the works of Terence Mckenna, Jeremy Narby, and Graham Hancock for a veritable plethora of example of the use of DMT and other hallucinogens throughout history to the modern day. An incredible number of these accounts have in common the experience of coming into contact with what Mckenna refers to as "Self-Transforming Machine Elves." These Beings will transport the DMT user to different dimensions, take them aboard spacecraft, show them the Universe or themSelves, impart prophecies and even technological knowledge (of varying degrees of plausability). Those who prefer to believe that these experiences are purely hallucinatory do so at the peril of Leaping to Conclusions. Let us not forget the fact that the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule appeared to Francis Crick under the influence of LSD, and that Kary Mullis developed the Polymerase Chain Reaction technique under the same influence.

Given the prevalence, similarity, and powerful results of such experiments, it seems to me that there might actually be Something Going On with the sorts of experiences reported by shamans, mystics, magicians, and physicists throughout history. However, one instantly gets oneself into hot water when one starts to conjecture as to what exactly is going on here. Looking at these stories, one might conclude that :

 a) The users of these techniques of consciousness expansion are all stark-raving mad.
 b) The users of these techniques of consciousness expansion have come into contact with Extra-Dimensional Beings with access to advanced scientific and technological knowledge.
c) The users of these techniques of consciousness expansion are being manipulated by Demons.
d) The users of these techniques are coming into contact with previously-unexpressed aspects of their own Psyches, areas of the mind with have savant-level access to advanced scientific and technological knowledge.
e) And so on and so on, or any combination of the above.

 Alex Jones' answer is just one of many, and by no means the wackiest. It is important to realize that in this, as in everything else, there is an incredible danger in ascribing to a Model That Explains It All. This danger, of course, is the unavoidable pitfall of ignoring data which does not fit into one's pre-existing beliefs, and clinging to the data which does. The resulting belief-structure is inevitably selective and arbitrary. The only way to avoid this pitfall is to entirely throw out the idea of reducing "Reality" to any single interpretation.

 It is much safer and saner to approach the description of such outlandish theories (and the description of "Reality" in general) from the standpoint of General Semantics, which states that all interpretations of data are abstractions from Reality, and that no model which can be created will fully encompass this reality. Judgement on what this reality really is should be suspended in favor of comparing the descriptions of these models in terms of utility. This will avoid a great deal of cognitive dissonance, and allow for the creation of multiple models to describe individual events, a far more flexible and adaptable approach to World-Building.

 Alex Jones lives in a dark and fearful reality wherein the Power Elite are a shadowy cabal that manipulates world affairs from behind the scenes, and they use ancient techniques of consciousness expansion to increase their power, gain dominion over the earth, and enslave mankind. The Illuminati are the most important and powerful beings in this reality, and they are against us, building the world according to their Visions. But this reality tunnel he has created is one of an unlimited number of interpretations, any of which might be horrible, wonderful, frightening, interesting, useful, useless, dull, confusing, beautiful.

But remember, remember, remember that all of them are models, descriptions, paintings, and that none of them are TRUE.

In the spirit of playful Interpretation, like Robert Anton Wilson, I choose to embrace one of the more useful, engaging, and empowering interpretations-- that my life is my own and no other's to direct and control, and that my mind is a tool to use and alter through the ancient and modern techniques of consciousness expansion to increase my own personal power, knowledge, and happiness and that of those around me. I claim kinship with any who feels the same. The Illuminati are the most important and powerful beings in this reality, and They are Us, building the world according to our Visions.

"When you define the Power Elite as somebody else, I view that as a Loser Script."
- Robert Anton Wilson

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fairy Princess Roadkill

The heat was already shimmering over the pavement as I smoked my last pre-flight cigarette in front of the Delta terminal. That's when she caught my eye.

Discarded by a careless child or a heartless caretaker, Fairy Princess lay face down in traffic. Though her dress and wings were still remarkably well preserved, her stiff legs jutted upwards in the rigid contortion of death. All fairy magic had clearly left her petite body.

I looked around me at the harried faces rushing to and from flights. No one else seemed to notice the microscopic tragedy in the pick-up/drop-off lane. I probably wouldn't have either if I hadn't arrived with an hour to spare. As it was, I found myself morbidly transfixed. I know that my mother managed to instill a greater-than-normal animistic sense of sympathy towards inanimate objects ("Tell the door you're sorry you kicked it.") which in some way influenced me to stride into traffic and document the sad fate of Fairy Princess Roadkill.
I'd already committed myself to looking like a deranged psychopath harmless eccentric by crouching in front of oncoming taxis to photograph a child's toy, so I wondered if I should give closure to the onlooking TSA agents by burying her in a planter or some other act equally unlikely to elicit a battery of difficult-to-answer questions at the security checkpoint. Didn't Fairy Princess at least deserve a decent burial? No. And you know why?

Because fairy princesses aren't like other road kill. Though all fairy magic and wish-granting powers had clearly abandoned her inert plastic corpse, this was not necessarily a permanent state of morbidity. Unlike, say, an armadillo, the fairy's sun-baked form could be instantly resurrected and restored to her former status as glittering companion by any passing child. Shit, I was almost tempted to scoop her up and chuck her at the next passing toddler to ensure her reanimation, but we live in a post-9/11 world and people aren't so pleased by the hurled gifts of strangers at the airport, even if the gift is a magical fairy.

My role was merely to document, like a National Geographic photographer observing as cheetah kittens are stalked by hyenas. The fate of Fairy Princess Roadkill was not mine to decide. It falls to a caring child, or a big-hearted caretaker. Or an oncoming Suburban.

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And the letter

Friday, June 17, 2011

Year In Review

So it's been a little while, hasn't it? Over a year has passed since the last post, so I'd say we have a little catching up to do. The following have occurred since then, in no particular order:

i. I took a massive hit to my self-confidence after having to leave my job as a wilderness counselor for medical reasons. The demoralizing process of leaping through workman's comp hoops, physical therapy, MRIs, steroid injections, weird medications, and finding a new job all combined to create an insidiously corrosive effect. This effectively wiped me out on all projects, clients, and magical activities for large swaths of last year.

ii. I got better. Not where I want to be, by a long shot, but at least I've picked myself back up and am back on the damn Path. Now I need to pick up the pieces and figure out how to make them into something better. Solve et Coagula and all that.

iii. My new job has required me to travel all over the country: Philadelphia, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Denver, Boulder, Memphis, Tombstone, New York, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Seattle, Dallas, and more podunk towns in the middle of god-forsaken-nowhere than I care to count. I've visited dozens of bodegas, botanicas, creepy Chinese apothecaries, and occult bookstores along the way, amassing a ridiculous supply of herbs, incenses, candles, grimoires, and sundries. I'm technically traveling as a researcher, but for everything but the couple of hours spent actually interviewing people, I'm a jet set sorcerer.

iv. The Middle-East caught on fire, exactly as I predicted. Remember?

v. I made a few t-shirts on a print-on-demand site. The plan is to have all 72 demons of the Goetia represented on American Apparel products by fourth quarter. Go check it out.

vi. Lady Gaga has succeeded in convincing the pop culture world that being weird can be incredibly profitable, and now we have songs in the Top 40 about having sex with aliens. Well done, Illuminati. Well done.

vii. I met a young person who reminded me of what it was like to first start studying and practicing magic: challenging, strange, incredibly exciting.
For the record, it's a lot like this:
The Klaxons - Magick

What's new with you?